Aircraft design is the kind of competition that started at the times when the aircraft were self-made. With the aim at innovations in this sector of aircraft construction, the idea of the realization of own aircraft plans and thus a mobilization of the future aircraft engineers and, eventually, aircraft software developers.
The principles of flight mechanical design
The flight mechanical design of the aircraft should be such that the aircraft can be easily flown by average private pilots. Good flight performance is a bonus, but should be in favor of good flight characteristics. The aircraft should largely meet the current airworthiness requirements in terms of its properties and construction.
For building and testing the prototype the following regulations of the aircraft design planning should be implemented:
- Scale three-page view and a data sheet
- Overview of the cockpit area with the occupant’s seat position
- Overview of the main structural elements of the aircraft
- Overview of aircraft control
- System schematics (Fuel system)
- Proposal for a suitable drive and overview of the engine installation
- Estimation of the expected rate of climb, the speed of the best climb and the horizontal flight speed at maximum continuous power
- Diagram for maneuvers and gusts
- Estimation of the empty mass and of the empty mass center of gravity
- mass-center-of-gravity diagram
- estimation of the neutral point while the elevator is held and released
- description of a production concept that takes into account the possibilities of private DIY
- description of a business model with which to develop such an aircraft
Mobilization of aircraft design and safety inspection
The aircraft must be able to launch vertically, make a transition to surface flight and back again to land vertically again. Before the flight starts each aircraft has to undergo a safety inspection. The inspection is to ensure that the flight system conforms to the description presented in the reports system.
Furthermore, it must be stated, among other things, that:
- the aircraft can withstand the expected forces
- all components are firmly secured in the aircraft
- the drive system is secured
- the wiring has been adequately made
- the range of the remote control is sufficient, both with off as well as with engine switched on
- all control functions work as planned
Aircraft engineers vs aircraft software developers
The prerequisites for submission of a Preliminary Design Report and Final Design Report should remain in compliance with further development of aircraft software. The Preliminary Design Report is intended to give an overview of the status of the project, which activities have already been completed, which problems are still to be solved.
Important to point out the many fundamental investigations concerning aircraft engineering. Especially the work dealing with the problems of automation, the division of functions between man and machine, the division of tasks within the crew as well as the user-friendly presentation of information in the cockpit are very important for the flight safety. They show impressively that technological progress is not always “humane” and that the designers, constructors and software developers do not always sufficiently take into account the limits and needs of the aircraft.
The Final Design Report dwells on the technical content, the methods used, problem solving innovation, stringent content and form presentation. For easier comparability, the Final Design Report should contain at least the following chapters:
- Project management (time and cost planning)
- Aerodynamic and structural design
- Transition method
- Risk analysis and safety concept
The results of the engineering studies have led to the gradual abolition of the former “deficit of psychology” in aviation safety work. As a subject, aircraft software developing has since then taken a permanent place in the training as well as in the courses for flight safety.
Accident prevention should not only include the discovery of technical, organizational, selection and training-specific vulnerabilities, but also measures to increase individual performance and resilience. The aircraft engineers should take into account these factors vs aircraft software developers who must also be aware of these connections and include them in his care and support measures for the entire aeronautical service.